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Open Forum Infect Dis. 2017 Oct 8;4(4):ofx214. doi: 10.1093/ofid/ofx214. eCollection 2017 Fall.

Sociodemographic and Clinical Factors Associated With Increasing Bacterial Sexually Transmitted Infection Diagnoses in Men Who Have Sex With Men Accessing Care at a Boston Community Health Center (2005-2015).

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The Fenway Institute, Fenway Health, Boston, Massachusetts.
Department of Medicine, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, Massachusetts.
Department of Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts.
Department of Epidemiology, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia.



The reasons why bacterial sexually transmitted infections (BSTIs) are increasing in US men who have sex with men (MSM) have not been fully characterized.


An open cohort of MSM accessing medical care at a Boston community health center was used to assess secular trends in BSTI diagnoses. Frequency of infection and the estimated population size were used to calculate diagnosis rates. Poisson models were fit for multivariable analyses.


Between 2005 and 2015, 19 232 men had at least 1 clinic visit. Most (72.4%) were white; 6.0% were black, and 6.1% were Latino. Almost half had documented self-report of identifying as gay (42.6%) or bisexual (3.2%). Most had private health insurance (61.7%); 5.4% had Medicare, 4.6% had Medicaid, and 8.4% reported no insurance. Between 2005 and 2015, BSTI diagnoses increased more than 8-fold. In 2015, of 1319 men who were diagnosed with at least 1 BSTI; 291 were diagnosed with syphilis, 554 with gonorrhea (51.4% rectal, 31.0% urogenital), and 679 with chlamydia (69.1% rectal, 34.3% urogenital). In 2015, 22.7% of BSTIs were diagnosed among HIV-infected patients (15.4% of the clinic population), and 32.8% of BSTIs were diagnosed among HIV-uninfected patients using pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP; 10.1% of all men in care). In multivariable analyses, age 18 to 24 years, being HIV-infected, using PrEP, being nonwhite, or reporting Medicaid or not reporting having private insurance or Medicare were independently associated with being diagnosed with a new BSTI.


Over the past decade, BSTI diagnosis rates increased in HIV-infected and uninfected MSM, with disproportionate increases in PrEP users, racial and ethnic minority MSM, those aged 25 to 34 years, and those without stable health insurance, warranting focused education, screening, and accessible services for these key subpopulations.


HIV; Men who have sex with men; chlamydia; gonorrhea; syphilis

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